Daily Punch 11-27-13 Sure Footed Feat in DnD Next

How about another feat for DnD Next?


Sure Footed

You are a natural at finding the path and avoiding anything that gets in your way

  • Increase your dexterity score by 1, up to 20
  • Double your overland movement speed
  • In combat, you can move normally over 10 feet of naturally difficult terrain.  If the terrain is magically difficult to cross, you can only move naturally over 5 feet of it.


Blurbs from the Booth-A Tale of Four Cons

This year as part of my geek new year’s resolution, I decided to go to one con a month.  I’ve seen some, quite frankly, excellent things at some cons.  I’ve also seen some not quite so good things at some cons.  I’d like to talk about some of the great things I’ve seen and why I thought they really made my experience all the greater.

Event Sign Up-Everybody goes to a gaming con for some gaming.  Otherwise you wouldn’t spend 20 bucks for a day badge to just hang with some friends.  Hands down the best con I’ve seen for event sign up is GrandCon.  GrandCon is a new con in Grand Rapids.  The team there is the same team that works together at Origins, and it shows.  They fixed my issue with my badge and when I went to buy an event ticket, I was in and out in under five minutes.  Their con signup was web based until the Thursday of the con, then you had to do onsite signup, and that’s ok.

Now not all cons a big enough to have its own server farm, but if you’re small, consider Warhorn.  I went to CritCon.  It’s another first year con in Ohio.  These guys poured their heart and souls into this con, and it showed.  Everybody had to sign up on WarHorn.  Now WarHorn isn’t my favorite, but it works.  The con went off great.

What I don’t like as much is sheets of paper in a hall.  It’s ok for smaller cons, but as you get bigger, it’s not as useful especial as you do more complicated analysis afterwards.

Sign Up sheets-I love to run events at cons.  I want to share my hobby with others.  What I need when I do that is for the con staff to work with me.  I’ll work my heart out to provide the programming for your events, but I need clear directions from you on what you want and where do I get to work.  I loved running events at Ucon.  Ucon is just celebrated its 25th year as a con.  When I signed in as a GM, I was given my badge and a packet containing instruction and lists of all my players at each event.  It wasn’t a complete list as you could get general admission tickets, but it gave me an idea of who I could expect.  I absolutely loved that.

When a con doesn’t give me a heads up, I don’t have a clue.  Am I in the wrong spot?  Can my players just not find me? How long should I wait for players?  As a rule I try to be 15 ahead of my slot, and if I don’t see players after 30 minutes, I assume there will not be any.  Is that a good idea?  If you don’t tell me as a con organizer, I’m completely in the dark.

Event Ticketing and Recording-When I sign up for an event, I expect I have a slot in that event held for me for at least a few minutes into the event.  Watches might not be right, I might get held up in the bathroom, or my food might not get served to me to quickly at the restaurant so I’m a few minutes late.  These are excuses, but I expect at least a little leeway.  I understand if I’m 15 minutes late I forfeit my spot, but if I’m less than five minutes into the slot I expect my spot to be there.  I had a few bad experiences where I signed up on paper sign in sheets, bought event specific tickets, showed up ON TIME, but since I wasn’t there really early, I didn’t get to play.  That right there soured my PentaCon experience.

If you do have sign up paper sheets, get those to the table as soon as possible.  Just put them on the table that will have the event 10 minutes ahead.  That way when the GM gets to the table, he/she can do a head count and call names of those who signed up.  This way people who did sign up get a spot while those who just joined the game won’t take spots from stragglers.  This is one of the things I love about Winter Fantasy, a convention in Fort Wayne Indiana each winter.  Signup sheets go out to martials who manage players, ticketed players get first pick of groups, and general ticket players wait 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, everybody gets equal seating.  I can abide by this policy, and it shows in how smoothly Winter Fantasy runs games.

Event Ticket Collection-When I ran events at Winter Fantasy and Ucon, tickets were picked up from my table in under 20 minutes.  It was smooth and efficient.  If you do this early, you don’t disturb games and the GM knows right away if he doesn’t have any players.  The con gets data and tickets, and I get a well run machine of a game going early.

Table Tents with Event Breakdown-This is hands down one of the smartest things I’ve seen at any con.  At Ucon, each table had a little folded piece of carboard that had an breakdown of all the events and event times for that table.  WHY DOESN’T EVERY BODY ELSE DO THIS?

Venders-Every con should have a thriving vender area.  Don’t care what, but if you put some good deals there, I will buy it. A sure sign a con is dying is a shrinking vender area.  Vendors pull people into a con.  I have a friend that won’t go to a con if it doesn’t have good venders.  End of story.  I go bargain hunting at cons, so con organizers, please price your vendor spots appropriately.  If you are way too expensive, you will end up with empty spots.  It’s better to go cheap to get those guys in the door and slightly increase your event ticket sales then to kill your vender area!  Venders-I love you guys, but keep in mind at a con I see your main job to get your name out there.  I already have a local guy who I buy my games from, so the argument of by local is already happening.  When I go to a con, I expect a value or exclusivity.  I also have my phone with me at all times, and I can order from Amazon with free shipping.  If your price is over 110% of Amazons price I will either buy from my local guy or Amazon.  That’s it.  When I went to GrandCon, the vender deals were insane.  I spent over $150 bucks because I was getting deals.  When I went to Ucon, I spent $30 bucks.  The proof is in the money.

Random Gaming-Every con needs to encourage random geeks to sit and play some games.  If you’re a decent size con in the midwest, check out the GenCon board game library.  I’m ok if you charge me a single general event ticket for several hours of gaming, but don’t charge me several times if I’m teaching myself and a friend a game.  Also, you should encourage people to just sit down and game.  PentaCon this year was kind of underwhelming for me, but the part of the weekend that made it fun was when I was leaving the hall and some random guy had a game out.  We started a conversation, and then started to play his game.  I played games for six hours straight.  It was a blast.  Cons, help get some random geeks together!  It’s what the whole purpose is anyway!

Friday Night Magic-Look, I don’t like Magic.  But, Magic is quite possibly the most important thing the gaming industry has going.  If you run a con that covers a Friday Night, you NEED a magic event.  Work with your Venders to get an awesome prize package together.  Sell special, Magic specific badges.  Get these guys in the door.   They might come back and buy full badges.  At the worst you get your cons name out there!


Those are a few of my thoughts on cons.  I’m only going to one more this year, but I can’t wait to see what next year brings. Hope to see you at one!

Daily Punch 11-26-13 Cold Weather Survivor feat in DnD Next

Been reading through the new seasons of DnD Encounters.  How about a feat for all you out in the cold….


Cold Weather Survivor

You grew up on the edge of the world.  Its been so cold, the cold is almost part of you.

  • Gain a +1 bonus to constitution
  • gain resistance to cold equal to 5 + 1/2 character level
  • double the time you can survive in the cold without a constitution check



Ring Side Report- Board Game Review of Seasons


Producer– Asmodee

Cost– $50

Set-up/play/clean-up– 1 hour

TL;DR- More depth and fun then you would think 92.5 %


Summary– Seasons is a dice/card game where players take the roles of competing sorcerers trying to gain the most power in three years.  The game is an interesting mix of dice and eurogame.  Each turn, a player rolls dice with one extra die then the number of players.  After rolling, the players take turns selecting dice that will give them points, summoning power, extra cards, or energy.  Players then play cards or transmute energy to points(crystals).  The die that is left over will advance the season track a number of spaces.  When the season changes, new dice are used that give relatively similar results except that different energy is available each season.  When the season counter crosses into the fourth year, players count their points/crystals and whoever has the most wins.


Theme–  I play a sorcerer in this game.  I’m not sure if I feel like a sorcerer, but I do feel the changes in the seasons.  Later in the game, you have ways to save up power, but early on, you do feel that the time of the year is affecting your magic.  Later in the game, it won’t matter as much except for making points.  Its an interesting mix of theme and mechanic that I like.  The world made by the cards and the dice is an interesting one that I enjoy being part of. 4/5


Mechanics–  This is a really interesting approach to a dice game.  I wouldn’t say the game is as deep a thinking experience as chess, but if you go in randomly choosing dice, you will lose badly.  It’s a fun game that is always changing.  It feels like a strange hybrid of Quorriors, Agricola, and Seven Wonders;  Its random dice, action choice, and competition for resources.  Even with all this, the game plays quick and is really fun.  It’s definitely worth a look for that alone. 5 /5


Instructions-With all the above going on, the instruction book has a big job ahead of itself.  The book teaches the rules very well.  There is much more going on then what my blub above suggests.  Also, the rules give you different ways to play from an easy variant all the way to hard, complex rules.  There are some corner cases where the rules don’t quite cover, but all and all a well done set of rules. 4.5/5


Art/Construction-Giant dice make me happy!  This game comes with four giant sets of six sided dice, and they are fantastic!  I love dice games, but most use such tiny dice.  This one makes excellent use of its parts.  The cards are standard card stock, but their art looks cartoony and nice.  The box comes with lots of stuff, so I felt like I got my money’s worth. 5 /5


Summary–  This is a fun game.  It has a surprising number of levels for a game that looks fairly easy.  It gives dice randomness with choices the matter, and that is a hard thing to pull off.  My wife and I will often pull this game off the shelf to play even when we have other, newer games to play.  That alone should speak volumes.  This game is quick, easy, and fun.  Go check this game out. 92.5%


Ring Side Report- Review of Codex of Heroes for Arcanis

Product-Codex of Heroes

Producer-Paradigm Concepts

Cost– ~$30

Pages- 192

TL;DR-Simply a must have if you play Arcanis 93%


Summary– This is the first hard cover splat book for the Arcanis Role Playing game.  The book starts off with a long narrative detailing how the first arc of Living Arcanis ended.  From this, the book details some of the many different secret societies active in Arcanis.  After these secret societies, the book moves into its true splat book nature by adding several options for each character spanning new races, traits, spells, etc all the way to using old skills in new ways.  The book ends with a chapter detailed how each faith in general worships its gods.


Story or “Fluff”– This book is exactly what Arcanis needs.  Arcanis has spanned the 3.x era of DnD and moved to its own RPG, winning an award at Origins for its debut.  However, lots of its old history is in unpublished, inaccessible modules, and newcomers might be lost.  This book greatly adds to the story and helps newer plays quickly become accumulated with the world.  In addition, Arcanis has always had a strong story component, and this book really helps those who haven’t played through five years of living games get a leg up on understanding what is going.  5/5


Mechanics or Crunch– Again, this is exactly what Arcanis needs.  Arcanis has not had many extra rule books published for the game, and this is a glorious addition to the system.  It provides an impressive amount of crunch in fewer than 200 pages.  And the book ads rules all the way through the game system.  The book comes with an improved character creations sheets that help you walk through the hardest part of the Arcanis RPG all the way through to high level character options.  Hands down awesome! 5/5


Art/Layout-The book is easy to read and well laid out.  The art is all Arcanis in style helping me draw pictures in my mind with ease.  However, a major problem with the art is that some of it is recycled art.  Not all, but enough.  I’m in the world because of the art; but when I can play spot the reprint, it takes away from the book. 3.5/5


Final Thoughts-If you play Arcanis, you need this.  There is no question.  It’s pretty cheap at $30 for ~200 pages, and well worth its price.  I love the Arcanis System, and this book is a welcomed addition to the game.  90%

Daily Punch 11-21-13 Better tires in Shadowrun 5e

As I’m driving through the rain in Jackson with my back tires in horrible disrepair, this popped into my mind….


Modification                      AVAIL                     COST

All Weather Tires                   4                          1,000Y



All Weather Tires:   Your vehicle grabs the road that much better.  Increase the handling score by 1.

Daily Punch 11-19-13 Feral Flaw in Pathfinder

Some more ideas inspired by Blood of the Moon.  How about a character flaw…

Feral Child: You grew up far from man and it shows.  You were raised by a single parent deep in the woods or in a cave.  If you saw people, it was when on the hunt.  Now you don’t know how to fit in when you have to.  You take a -2 on diplomacy and bluff checks when dealing with any civilized people.


Blurbs from the Booth-What I want next in the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

The second adventure part of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game recently came out, and I recently played through and reviewed my experience and posted my thoughts here.  It’s fun, but I think some changes need to happen to make the game that much better.  Right now it’s a fun game my wife and I play two nights every other month.  I don’t tell my friends much about it, because it’s fun, but not the amazing experience I think it can be.  Now, I think it’s pretty good, but a few things that honestly won’t cost Paizo that much to add or change could really make this the BEST co-op card game out there now.  Let’s do a rundown of what I think needs to change.


BIG CHEAP FIX– one simple page-I want a one page, two sided piece of paper with a story, character, what’s going on, and better rule descriptions.  I’ll go into depth below.


Story, Characters and Fluff– Rise of the Runelords is a phenomenal story arc.  This game currently does an ok job of hitting the high points.  But, as someone who hasn’t played this before, I don’t have a clue of what is going on.  Right now I get, at best, two paragraphs describing what is happening on the back of a card.  That’s ok in a simple card game where I roll dice, but I want to true RPG experience.  I don’t know: what and where is Sandpoint?  Who is the villain from the first adventure part?  Why do I care about finding friends?  What festival is going on?  Adding a one page sheet (Heck post a PDF online) would really bring me that much more into the game.  Introduce some NPCs, give some background, and drag me deeper into the world.  My wife and I will read this aloud and know who we are in this card game.  It will pay off in droves if I know who I am fighting and if I know I was betrayed.  I will have “NO WAY!” moments that will hook me harder than a sea bass.  I will want to tell my friends that you won’t see it coming.  It will be awesome.


Instruction– When I reviewed the base box of the game, I didn’t really like how the rules were written.  The expansions don’t have any extra rules besides what on the cards.  Give me a sheet that explains the rules a bit more in detail.  I HATE having to rush to board game geek or Paizo.com forums midgame to figure out how to play something.  Giving me a good resource will really help with that.  If I have that sheet or PDF handy, then I know what I’m doing.


Why the simple sheet?  Well right now the biggest competitor to the Adventure Card Game is the Lord of the Rings LCG from Fantasy Flight.  The Lord of the Rings game comes out every month with one adventure and gives both player and enemy cards.  Right now I like the Lord of the Rings card game for a few reasons, but I think with a few changes the Adventure Card game can easily over take it.  First is the sheet.  The Lord of the Rings game gives a sheet with rules and story for each scenario.  That sheet honestly stops all my rules questions and drags me into the world.  The one sheet makes me that much more engaged in both theme and mechanics.  However, there are a few other things I want to bring up that the Lord of the Rings game does that I think might help a bit.  I realize that both games have different mechanics, but I think that some aspects could transfer quite well.


Different Decks-Right now, every deck is used for all the scenarios.  This isn’t bad, but it’s kind of like using a random monster generator.  Sometimes you get a hit where you roll to use an undead table and get a ghost in a haunted house.  Sometime times you roll to use an aquatic creature in a desert.  It kind of breaks the immersion in the game.  I could see smaller decks like a 1-U for undead creatures in the first scenario pack.  This would focus what monsters you encounter, but could still be mixed with other smaller decks to give some randomness.


Additional Mechanics-The general mechanics of the game work well. However, when you do this several times across an adventure pack, it does get a little stale.    So far my absolutely favorite scenario is the Foul Misgivings.  I loved the addition of the haunt and the random chance you could be attacked by the crazy ghost (I would like a bit more back story and some rule discussion, but that’s what I mentioned above).  I think that shows that there is so much more potential for this game.  Right now it’s the same action over and over, but that little bit of extra crazy made this so much more!  Please DO MORE OF THAT!


Specialized Box and one quest sets- One of the more interesting aspects of the Lord of the Rings LCG is their print on demand sets and book boxed sets.  Paizo has an amazing fiction, and I would love to play single mission or smaller boxed sets based on the books.  I will give you more money!  Want even more?  Give me a battle interactive story pack that I can play at a con!


Those are some of my ideas.  Overall, I love this game.  I see it can be so much more.  Honestly, just a few small tweaks will make this game awesome.  The larger harder ideas I have I know will take some retooling. You have my money either way.  At this game’s worst, it’s a fun way to spend time with my wife.  Give me a reason to brag about this game to all my friends!